The Calgary Flames welcome a new visitor to the Saddledome on Thursday night following a sloppy performance against the Capitals. The 5-5-1 Flames are coming off a 5-3 loss in what was a pretty good game. Not exactly good for the Flames, but nevertheless, it was an entertaining game as a spectator. Calgary are looking for some traction after a so-so start to the 2019-20 season.
They enter Thursday night with an even record of .500. It’s tough to say what is going to come of the Flames this season. After finishing 1st in the Western Conference a season ago, it would be easy to say they’ll snap out and be fine. However, a lot of people said the same thing about the Oilers a year after they went to the playoffs.
The Oilers never got out of that hole and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2017. Could the same thing happen to the Flames? Possibly, but I will say that the Flames have more depth on their roster than that Oilers team. Two seasons ago it was Connor McDavid and then more Connor McDavid. With the emergence of Leon Draisaitl, he is developing a supporting cast now, though. In any event, the Flames have a dangerous team assembled and are still young enough to be a threat for years to come.
If you looked at what the team did, you would think that the addition of James Neal was a huge boom. That wasn’t the case, as Neal was irrelevant and they gave up on him following one season. Neal is finding a lot of success with the Oilers, though, so who knows what was bothering him in Calgary. The Flames still had a plethora of talented forwards and were able to withstand Neal being pretty well useless on the ice.
The Flames welcome a Panthers team who aren’t to be taken lightly. They enter Calgary with a record of 4-2-3 and are coming off two straight wins. Florida have recorded a point in each of their last three games, as they picked up a point in a 5-4 overtime loss against the Avalanche on Friday.
For this club to really find success, they are going to have to get elite play out of Sergei Bobrovsky. He was signed to an expensive deal to be the guy between the pipes, but his play has fallen short thus far. Head below for our free Panthers vs. Flames pick.
Florida Panthers vs. Calgary Flames Pick
Sergei Bobrovsky left Columbus for greener pastures in Sunrise with the Panthers. He said he signed with the Panthers because he wants to win a Stanley Cup. Yeah, about that. I’m sure the money had something to do with signing in Florida. There was an opening in Sunrise after Roberto Luongo retired from hockey. At least thus far, Bobrovsky hasn’t played like he is ready to lead this team to a Cup.
He heads into Calgary with a 3.75 GAA and 0.878 save percentage. For everything he did right in Columbus, Bobrovsky still had a tendency to go through cold stretches. Perhaps that’s all this is and he will bounce back to form soon. With Bobrovsky struggling, the defence has been feeling it as a result. The Panthers have allowed 3.44 goals per game for 24th in the NHL.
The Panthers may be without their leading defenceman, Aaron Ekblad, as he is questionable to play as a result of an illness. He was a late scratch against the Penguins, with his status in question for tonight. For the issues in their own zone, the Panthers have been a fun team to watch offensively. They have a top-10 offence with 3.22 goals scored per game.
Calgary have been struggling defensively at home, so that could be the opening for a Florida win tonight. The Flames have been off the mark, with 3.5 goals against per contest. They’ve been forced to keep pace offensively and have for the most part, with 3.4 goals scored per game at the Saddledome. Goals have generally been easy to come by for the Flames against the Panthers. They’ve notched an average of 4 per game in their previous seven meetings.
The Panthers and Flames typically get into high-scoring meetings. The OVER has gone 9-1 in their previous ten meetings, along with a mark of 6-0 to the OVER in their last six dates at the Saddledome in Calgary. The Panthers have been an OVER machine dating back to last season, as it’s gone 18-6 in their last 24 games. Expect another high-scoring game featuring the Panthers in Calgary against the Flames tonight.